It’s hard to believe it’s been a month since my amazing trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Before this trip, it had been a long time since I just laid on a beach or by the pool and relaxed for a few days. It was so nice to relax and recharge for a few days and see some of the sights in Puerto Rico. I wanted to share some of my tips and tricks for having an amazing vacation to Puerto Rico in this post.
One of the benefits of going to Puerto Rico is that you do not need to have a passport or change your currency (if traveling from the US). Also, there are a decent amount of flights that go to San Juan on a daily basis, which can make getting there a breeze.
Where to Stay
The island is large and small at the same time (does that make sense). I think what I am trying to say is that there are a lot of different options of places to stay, but it won’t take you forever to get from one side of the island to the other. So depending on what you want to do, there are a lot of different options.
If you want to lay on the beach and relax, I would recommend Viviques Island, Dorado or Playa Isla Verde (closer to San Juan Airport). Both Viviques and Dorado are more isolated, so I would anticipate staying at the resort most of the time. We chose to stay closer to San Juan at the Ritz Carlton San Juan. This allowed us to be on the beach while being about 15 minute drive from Old San Juan.
We had a few hiccups with our stay at the Ritz, so I can’t 100% honestly recommend it as the best place to stay, but the pool was fantastic (I mean who doesn’t love the lion statues), I was able to lay on a beach and drink Pina Coladas and I had the ability to take a full week off from work – it could have been much worse.
What to Do
There is a lot of rich history in Old San Juan and the architecture and colorful buildings were just the start. If you are big into history, you can take a guided tour of the city. We had taken a Segway tour in the evening when we went to San Juan a few years back (note: I don’t think Segways are the safest way to get around Old San Juan. There are a ton of cobblestone streets which makes maneuvering the Segways pretty difficult) and were told a lot of the historical information, so we decided to do a tour of the city by ourselves. I did some research before we got there and found this website which had multiple walking tours of Old San Juan for us to follow. We didn’t stick to it religiously, but it was nice to have a bit of a path mapped out. And I couldn’t help but stop to take some pictures in front of the vibrant colored buildings.
On the third day of our trip, it was raining on and off all day, so we decided to get out of sun (or the bits of sun) to go to the Bacardi Rum Factory. There were two options to get there – 1) You can take a cab/Uber there or 2) you can take the ferry from Old San Juan and then a super short cab ride to Bacardi once you get to the other side of the Island. Once you get there, you are greeted by the Bacardi team and you are able to purchase which tour you would like to do. I think there are 3 options – 1) the tour of the facilities 2) a tasting of the Bacardi rums and a tour of the facilities or 3) a mixology class with a tour of the facilities. We opted for the later and learned how to make a few drinks – my favorite was definitely the mojito (who knew that there was a “right way” to muddle your mint?)! Before you head out on your tour (or I guess even after your tour), you can use your drink token to order your favorite rum drink to sip in your commemorative glass (clearly I loved it because I was double fisting. Just kidding, I was holding the two cups for a photo op). Overall, we had a great afternoon seeing the original factory (side note: I think they do most of their production in Florida now, but this is where the original production occurred) and having some fruity drinks.
Last, but definitely not least, my favorite activity of the whole trip was to relax, unwind and enjoy the palm trees… 😀
What to Wear
On beach trips, I am all about comfort. I packed a lot of swimsuits, coverups, cotton dresses, loungewear and flats. I am also a big fan of bringing a bit looser of items incase my skin gets a bit burned (sitting in an office all day has ruined my tanning abilities…). I would also recommend lots of colorful items to match the vibrant city of San Juan.
When it comes to swimwear, it can always be tricky (no matter your size) to find something that fits comfortably, hugs the right places, does not come off while swimming the ocean and is absolutely adorable. I was fortunate to stumble upon the Always for Me on Instagram and immediately fell in love with their trendy swimsuits and colorful coverups made exclusively for curvy ladies. Always for Me was extremely generous to send me the these swimsuits and coverups which were perfect for lounging by the pool and on the beach.
One of my favorite features of their swimsuits is that a lot of them come with underwire and padding which is perfect for me because I felt like I was supported and was not having to pull it up all the time. Also, I think it helped to define my waist a bit more. In my opinion, there is nothing worse than constantly pulling at a bathing suit and making myself self-conscious about how I look. I think with a swimsuit, or really any piece of clothing, feeling amazing and being confident is absolutely key! And these Always for Me swimsuits and coverups definitely made me feel fabulous!
Another little detail, I couldn’t bear to leave out is that both of the swimsuits came with detachable shoulder straps, which I decided to take off most of the time because I didn’t want to have tan lines. But I love the ability to wear the suit in multiple ways – as a strapless tankini, tie it like a tankini, criss cross straps or wear it traditionally.
What to Pack
I think there are few additional items that are super important to include in my suitcase when I was traveling to San Juan.
First and foremost, it was so important for me to pack my sunscreen. Since I don’t spend a ton of time outside anymore, because of my full time job, I don’t have a base tan and I actually think my skin has lost some of it’s ability to tan, as well. (I know this is most likely not medically accurate, but I definitely have noticed that my skin burns a lot easier since I started working full time). I am a huge fan of the Supergoop products and have worn their everyday sunscreen as a daily moisturizer in the summer for the past few years because it smells fantastic and is not sticky. I was so excited when Supergoop graciously gifted some of their favorite products to enjoy and protect my skin while on the trip.
After spending the whole day out in the sun, it is extremely important to re-hydrate my skin, so I always try to bring an after-sun lotion to apply after I wash off the sand and sun for the day.
I also had to pack a few magazines and books. Reading is one of my favorite ways to unwind, so of course they would travel with me during the trip. Maybe some day I will write a post about some of my favorite books…
A few other things that I was really glad I packed on this trip was a hat to help block the sun from my face. No matter how much lotion I apply, my nose always gets a bit pink and this was a great way to hide from the sun without completely being out of it. I also brought with me my S’well water bottle to fill up at the water stations around the resort. I loved the S’well because it kept the water cold throughout the day and it was big enough that I did not have to refill it all of the time.
Overall, I am so thankful I had the opportunity to get away for a few days and unwind. Traveling is a passion of mine and I hope to share more of my travels in 2017!
Please note: I was gifted products by both SuperGoop and Always for Me to use on my vacation, but all opinions of the products are my own. I would never recommend a product that I didn’t absolutely love and I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to partner with some of my favorite brands.